Morgue-like utility room listed for rent on Facebook: 'Do you expect people to sleep standing up?'

Ang Qing
The Straits Times
Feb 23, 2024

A tiny, narrow room that comes with just a fan, a small desk and a three-tier open storage rack is going for $600 a month, according to a viral listing on Facebook, and many netizens are saying no way to the deal.

The landlord first put up the listing for what appeared to be a utility room in a Toa Payoh Central flat on his personal Facebook page a few days ago.

When the listing was shared on Facebook group Singapore Islandwide Room Rental on Feb 21, it quickly drew more than 2,000 reactions, with many slamming the landlord for offering a room they likened to a morgue.

A Facebook user said the room is in fact worse than a morgue, which is at least air-conditioned. Another user asked: “Do you expect people to sleep while standing up?”

Renting out utility rooms in Housing Board flats is illegal.

The HDB website says: “Only bedrooms originally constructed by HDB can be rented out. All other parts of the flat, including partitioned rooms, cannot be used as bedrooms for tenants.”

After the deluge of criticism, the landlord removed the picture of the room from his listing, but this did not stop angry netizens from adding the picture again in the comment section below his post.

A Facebook user asked whether the landlord has a conscience.

He said: “People come here to work, not to live in a morgue. Why don’t you live in it first and get a feel of what it’s like before renting it out?”

Another asked: “How would you feel if it is your child who is working overseas and has to live in such a condition?”

By 5pm on Feb 23, the listing had been deleted.

Checks by The Straits Times on Carousell found at least six listings advertising utility rooms in HDB flats for rent.

In July 2023, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said HDB looks out for possible cases of unauthorised flat rental through a range of methods, including monitoring advertisements and following up on public tip-offs.

Members of the public can report a suspected case involving unauthorised rental or misuse of flats by calling the HDB toll-free hotline on 1800-555-6370.

Depending on the severity and circumstances of unauthorised rental, HDB may issue a written warning, impose a financial penalty of up to $50,000, or acquire the flats compulsorily from the owners, said MND.

Between 2010 and 2021, HDB took action against 730 cases of unauthorised flat rentals.

ST has contacted HDB for more information.

The Straits Times

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